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January 9, 2008

Ellington taking strides in second season

Wayne Ellington, G, North Carolina

North Carolina shooting guard Wayne Ellington didn't score 20 points in a single game as a freshman last season.

He hardly is the same player as a sophomore. Just ask Clemson. Ellington - who scored an unassertive 11 points against the Tigers last season - torched Clemson for 36 Sunday night, including a game-winning 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left. That effort, coupled with his 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting against Kent State, make him the Rivals.com National Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 6.

Ellington shot 63.3 percent (19 of 30) for the week, raising his season average to a stellar 48.5 percent. He also made six of 11 3-pointers, pushing his season average from behind the arc to 42.7 percent.

Ellington hasn't hit a bigger shot in his Tar Heels career than the game-winner against Clemson. He was deep on the left wing when he got a pass from Ty Lawson and let if fly with UNC trailing 88-87.

"It felt really good," Ellington said. "He (Clemson forward James Mays) was flying at me, and I knew if it had a chance to get there it was going to go in."

The Tigers performed admirably. Coach Oliver Purnell believed his team had a great chance, especially after it limited Tar Heels forward Tyler Hansbrough to a season-low 12 points. But he didn't account for such a huge night from Ellington.

"I didn't think he'd get 36," Purnell said wistfully. "Thirty-three would've been fine."

Ellington is averaging 18 points per game, up from 11.7 a year ago. More important for Roy Williams' team, he's shooting with confidence, the kind where you knock down 3-pointers with undefeated records and No. 1 rankings hanging in the balance.


G Shan Foster, Vanderbilt
Foster averaged 25.3 points per game in three games last week as the Commodores pushed their record to 15-0. He had 20 against Iona, 24 against Rice and a season-high 32 in a 97-88 thriller over UMass. He also had eight rebounds and three assists against the Minutemen. He shot 55.5 percent (25 of 45) for the week.

G D.J. Augustin, Texas
Augustin averaged 25 points in wins over TCU and Saint Mary's last week. He torched the Gaels for 30 points on 11 of 22 shooting.

James Harden
Arizona State

Harden, a 6-5 shooting guard, made his Pac-10 debut and didn't disappoint. He led the surprising Sun Devils to wins over Oregon and Oregon State.

Harden, the youngest player in the Pac-10, started his week with 20 points and seven rebounds against the Ducks. He finished it with 24 points (tying his season high) and five rebounds against Oregon State. He shot 50 percent (13 of 26) for the week.

His play is a major reason ASU (12-2) is riding an eight-game winning streak into Wednesday night's showdown with rival Arizona.


C A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt
There's little doubt Ogilvy is going to be a Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week soon. He has been on the cusp more than once, and he comes off another great week. He averaged 19.7 points in three victories last week and shot 64.5 percent (20 of 31). He had 25 points and 11 rebounds against UMass for his second double-double.

G John Roberson, Texas Tech
Roberson averaged 18.5 points and 5.5 assists as the Red Raiders won two nonconference games, over Lamar and UTEP. He shot 54.5 percent (12 of 22).

No winner

None. (Xavier guard Drew Lavender would have won our award but the school declined it, saying the mid-major label was a black eye for its program.)



Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.

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